Monday, July 25, 2016

TdF 2016: Post Race Wrap Up

 Bear with me here. I took a lot of pictures yesterday during the last stage and none of them make any particular sense but I liked them all so I'm using them. I started getting ready to document this year's projects while Froomey and team enjoyed their victory beer at the start of the last day of racing.

The jets were early this year. I almost missed them. This is a crap shot of the stuff but just look at those planes. So close and so precise. Right down the Champs d'Elysee. Zoom. It was a hair raising moment.

 Of course I had to have a photo of all my stuff with the golden Joan of Arc. I look forward to seeing her every year. Not as much as the riders do though, I'm sure.

 Here is the ply on the fly mini skein. It's about an ounce. It was all the spindle would hold. I doubt it's enough for a mitt. I'll have to start another. As soon as my hands recover.

 With the peloton as a backdrop, here are the spindle single collections. The cotton in the back center is all this year's Tour, the rest were started earlier. Some were begun three Tours ago. I do take my time.

Speaking of the cotton, here it is. That's all the Spindolyn would hold before it started getting all unruly. I'm not sure yet if the cotton is going to let me add to it like wool does but that's an adventure for another day.

 Here is Joan again with the finished skeins. Right now Finley and Mr. Ply on the Fly are drying in the hot sun on the deck.

Whoosh. The riders fly by. Time is almost up. The group is back together for a final photo or two or three.

 Froomey has it. That must feel good. I know I am glad to be done but I also know I'll be sad in the morning. I think I have a crush on Phil Liggett.

The wheels are all empty. I'll have to console myself planning new projects and digging through the fiber stash.

The spindles are all empty too but I know what's going on them. More of the same but I'm not complaining.
Congrats to everyone who participated this year. It was a wild ride-as always!

PS: To those who commented about getting a peek at my stash yesterday. Hahahahaha....what's on those shelves is just a tiny drop in the bucket. If you only knew!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunday Soap: A Cutting

 Whew. Last day of the TdF! While I am spinning into Paris let's talk soap. Remember this one from the rest day?

 I thought it would be fun to document the big reveal. After making soap it has to sit for 24 hours to harden enough to take out of the mold. I'm like a kid on Christmas Eve when I know there will be soap to cut in the morning. I can't wait.

 My new wood mold and silicon liner set is amazing. It just pops right out. No more squishing and squeezing. The problem is that is makes a lot of soap. The smallest mold that I can find like this one holds 2 pounds of batter. That's 7-8 bars per loaf. Yikes.

 Here is the loaf out of the liner. It doesn't look very promising at this stage does it?

 Anxiously, I cut off a thin slice on each end. The ends are always ugly so I use those slices for testing. Now you get to see if your design plan worked. This one did. I can breathe a sigh of relief.  This was a very luxurious batter meaning I used lots of pricey butter and oils in it. I would have not been too happy if it had been ugly.

 I can't cut straight at all even with my handy dandy cheese slicer.

 Look at that. The inside looks pretty good too. Whew. I had my doubts with this pour. Things got thick rather quickly and thick batter does not make nice swirls.

 Meet Baby Buttermilk with yoghurt and sal butter. It's supposed to smell like baby powder. I'm not so sure about that. I was expecting something more like Love's Baby Soft and I think this smells more like the plastic powder jar than the powder.  As usual I used only a hint of fragrance so we'll see if it holds true over the six week cure.

 Now it sits on a tray for 24 hours and then gets transferred to the drying racks tomorrow. I can avoid the rack marks on the bottom if I let it harden for a while on a flat surface. I go and turn it every few hours so all sides dry evenly.

There it is way up there, out of reach of curious kitties lording over my unruly knit stash. That cabinet is full of wrapped soap waiting for a good home. I can't wait for the hot weather to break so I can start mailing it off again. Hopefully by September I can start my monthly giveaways because I sure have a lot of good things to give away!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Running Out of Road

 Oh dear, time is almost up. One more day is all there is in this year's Tour. Those three weeks went by fast didn't they?

 I had another finish yesterday. While I was watching the riders slipping and sliding all over the wet tarmac I finished up two bobbins of Finley the Shetland. The crashes yesterday were hard to watch. What a day.

Finley is far from finished. I have bags and bags of the stuff plus more fiber in the shed.

 Good thing because he is going to be Fair Isle Tam someday.

This one to be exact. Maybe not in those colors though. There's a lot of really pretty ones on Ravelry for inspiration.

 I am also running out of room on the big drop spindle for the wonky ply on the fly yarn. It is so heavy I am using it like a support spindle using a glass.

 It looks like the dog's breakfast but I love this project.

I am also still loving the cotton. It too is wonky but it will look great as an accent in some weaving. The best part is that I can spin cotton in bed at night while I am getting my Netflix fix. There is no muss or fuss with cotton. I love it.

It's hard to believe we will be in Paris tomorrow morning. I miss it all already. Vive Le Tour!

For those who asked about the pokeberry adventure, here and here are my blog posts on the picking and dyeing process that I hope to repeat this year. There is a bumper crop out there. Now they just have to ripen.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Crossing the Finish Line

Daddio's crazy tumbler quilt is a done deal.

 Oops....this is a better photo but... looks better right side up. I'd take it outside for an even better photo but it's too darn hot and buggy out there. I'd never survive it.

It took a while to machine stitch along side every tumbler but I like the way it looks. Much better than my terrible in the ditch machine stitching which was anything but. I took it to Daddio yesterday to have a look and of course he didn't remember it. Oh, well. It's mine now.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Close Ups

Here is that pokeberry fiber dry and ready to be stuck away into oblivion. Needless to say, it did not pass the neck test.

It's chain plied and pretty wonky. It's not even 2 ounces of fiber but enough was enough. There's still some left to spin but it's in the bag along with this miserable skein. It's a shame because the color is brilliant. I may have to try this again with some better fiber when the pokes get ripe later this summer.

The superwash Merino doesn't look much better, spin wise. This is what happens when I spin along with the Tour. I get thick and thin with pretty inconsistent plying. Whenever I spin with the riders, I spin like a maniac and rarely look down at what's going on so I am not surprised. Oh, well.

It's not a total loss. It's soft and pretty and I think it will make a decent enough Hitchhiker some day. I had to fight the urge to cast one on just to prove it's going to be okay. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe not.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Another Rest Day

 Not only was there no Tour to keep up with, The Mister was at his mother's for the day. I had the joint to myself. Yippee. I did some stitching. I am working on a slice of watermelon.

 I did some weaving.  I am halfway there.

 I did some warping. It's also almost done.

 I made soap. That's the baby powder scent. I hope it's as pretty on the inside. You can never tell.

I got some work done on the Yellow Submarine.

 There was a little bit of knitting and tea drinking in the afternoon.

 I practiced my guitars. I've been trying to pick them up for a few minutes every day. I'm still pretty terrible but I do enjoy it and it's a nice change from all the other stupid crap stuff I do all day.

 I finished my library book. The Mister made me read it because it is much better than the show. In fact, it is NOTHING like the show. Nothing. Whah?

Best yet, I got to play with Pup and take her for a walk before it got too hot. Rest day? Not really. I did miss the Tour and the spinning but I did manage to keep busy. No wonder I'm so tired.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The State of My Stitching

I got a big surprise in the mail yesterday and it came from very far away. Look at that! It's a cross stitched card. Thanks so much Liana!! I am going to have to learn how to do this because it's just brilliant. I love it. If you haven't looked at all the stitching projects on her blog, you should. It's incredible.

 As for my own stitching, August is already in serious production.

 My itty bitty skates have hit the wall though.

 Look at that tiny needle and those teeny tiny beads. We lost the light in June since we are covered in trees and I can't see well enough to stitch them anymore even with my super strong stitching glasses.

I picked up a pack of these at Walmart so maybe, just maybe I can get back to work. My goal was to have them done by Daughter's August birthday but that ain't happening.